SYDNEY: Ad spend on print news media is continuing to drop in Australia, but digital appears to be picking up the slack with advertisers, according to new figures.

New data released by the News Media Index indicates that advertising spend on print in the news media declined by 11.6% in Q1 2018 compared to the first quarter of 2017 – a hefty drop from A$349.4m to A$317.86m.

The quarterly News Media Index reports all print and digital ad revenue at Australia’s largest news media publishers, from both agencies and direct advertisers, is independently verified by Standard Media Index (SMI). The news media sector is the third largest sector in Australian media overall, and reported just over A$2bn in revenue in the 2017 calendar year.

The numbers reflect the ongoing slide of print advertising in Australian news media over the last three years, which has seen a number of newspapers and magazine forced to respond with changes and restructuring.

Newspaper-inserted magazines (NIMs) were hit the hardest overall this past quarter, with ad spend down a huge 26.7% from the same time last year. Only A$11.9m was spent on advertising in this category from January through March 2018, down from A$16.2m twelve months earlier, Mumbrella reported.

However there is one ray of sunshine in the gloom: digital appears to have picked up some of the exodus from print. Digital investment was up by more than 10% for the first quarter of 2018, to $118.45m from last year’s $107.6m, as advertisers pull through some of last year’s concerns about programmatic brand safety. The programmatic market recorded the highest growth, up by 46.9 %, driving higher overall figures for digital investment.

However, the bright spot in digital wasn’t enough to reverse the overall decline, though it appears to have moderated somewhat. Ad spend in news media across all formats was down by 7.3%, from A$483.3m to A$448.23m for the quarter.

Sourced from Mumbrella, NewsMediaWorks; additional content by WARC staff